Jeff Bezos will be aboard Blue Origin’s first human spaceflight on July 20.
The Amazon and Blue Origin founder has been a space enthusiast since childhood.
In 2013, he traveled out to sea for three weeks to retrieve pieces of the Apollo 11 spacecraft.

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On July 20, Jeff Bezos will be among the first human passengers to fly aboard New Shepard, a spacecraft built by his space exploration company, Blue Origin.

While it’s an unusual – and potentially risky – experiment, it’s not a very surprising one: Bezos has been obsessed with space since childhood.

“You’ve been passionate about space your whole life, but this is not just a plaything for you,” Mark Bezos said during an interview with his brother in 2017.

“No. God, no,” Bezos replied.

Bezos founded Blue Origin in 2000 with the goal of democratizing human spaceflight. The company has grown slowly over the years, but in 2015, it completed a remarkable feat, one Bezos will soon attempt: Flying the New Shepard rocket 62 miles above Earth and landing it safely on the ground.

On Tuesday, Bezos will embark on his own 11-minute trip outside of the Earth’s gravitational pull, decades after he first became obsessed with space travel. Here’s where Bezos’ passion for space began.

Bezos’ interest in space stems from his maternal grandfather

The lore around Bezos’ childhood is well-known by this point: Every summer, he would travel to the South Texas ranch belonging to his grandfather, Lawrence Preston Gise.

According to Brad Stone’s book, “Amazon Unbound,” Gise had spent the 1950s and 1960s working on space technology and missile defense systems for the Atomic Energy Commission, a federal agency that was created in 1946 to manage the use of nuclear energy for both civilian and military applications.

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Bezos, it seems, developed his passion for space during those summers with his grandfather. There, he would watch Apollo launches and read science fiction books from the library, according to Stone’s book.

Bezos used his high school valedictorian speech to talk about colonizing space

By the time he was in high school in South Florida, Bezos had told his friends that he wanted to be a space entrepreneur, and already had big plans to make space travel a part of his career plans, according to a 1999 Wired profile.

He attended a space initiative for high schoolers at NASA’s campus in Hunstville, Alabama, and later started a summer camp for elementary school students that had a heavy emphasis on science – including interstellar travel and space colonies, according to Wired.

When Bezos became valedictorian of his senior class in 1982, he delivered a speech about overpopulation and pollution. His solution to those existential threats, according to Stone’s book, was to send civilization to space.

″[Bezos] wants to build space hotels, amusement parks, yachts and colonies for two or three million people orbiting around the earth,” a write-up of Bezos’ speech by the Miami Herald said. Then, it …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

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